Original recipe makes 10 quarts
25 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
3 bay leaves
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound yellow onions, finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 1-quart canning jars with rings and lids
10 teaspoons salt, divided
1 ¾ cups bottled lemon juice, divided
To make 1 Quart:
2 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
¼ bay leaf
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
⅓ cup yellow onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1-quart canning jar with ring and lid
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons and 2 ½ teaspoons bottled lemon juice, divided
I find this first step, while a little time consuming, really helps in the end, so trust me and go with it! Blanch your tomatoes and remove the skins! Bring a large pot of water to boil. Take each of your tomatoes and score an “X” at the top and bottom of it. Drop it in the boiling water and let it roll around for a minute or so, then fish it out and plunge it into an ice bath. This will shock the tomato, and let you slide the skin off relatively easily. if you’re having difficulty, use a paring knife to remove any stubborn pieces.
Due to the sheer amount of tomatoes used in this recipe, you make want to divide it up amongst several large pots on your stove top, rather than attempting to try and do everything in one large (enormous!) pot. Place tomatoes, bay leaves, honey, oregano, 1 tablespoon salt, and black pepper in a large stockpot and cover with water. Stir to combine, cover, and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Remove cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning. Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes you may want to add more salt or more honey.
In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onions and garlic in the hot oil until the onions are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are done, you can either transfer the mixture in batches to a food processor and puree it, or use an immersion or hand blender, and just blend it in the cooking pot itself. Return the pureed sauce to the stockpot, add the cooked onions and garlic, and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until sauce thickens and reduces by about half, about 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. During this reduction time, you can make your different varieties of sauce by divvying up the sauce into smaller pots and adding additional garlic to one for a garlicky sauce, fresh basil to another for a basil sauce, or chili peppers to make a spicy sauce. You are only limited by your imagination!
Prepare quart jars and lids by heating them in boiling water in a canning kettle for at least 5 minutes. When the sauce is ready, remove jars and lids and place on dry towel. To each jar, add 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice. Ladle the hot tomato sauce into jars, leaving 1/2-inch of space at the top of each jar. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth, place lids onto jars, and screw on rings. Place filled jars in the canning kettle. Return water to a simmer, adding more water if needed to cover the jars by at least 1/2 inch. Cover kettle and bring water to a boil. Cook at a steady boil to process the jars until fully sealed, about 45 minutes (add more water if needed). Turn off heat and let jars rest 5 minutes before removing and cooling on a clean, dry towel placed on kitchen counter or table. Check that the lids have sealed, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.